Self-esteem is your self-image and how you feel about yourself. Your self-esteem is made up of thoughts and feeling you have about yourself. The more positive feeling you have about yourself, the higher your self-esteem and the more negative feelings you have about yourself, the lower your self-esteem. Self-esteem is important as it affects the way you live. It affects how you think, act and feel about yourself and others and how successful you are in achieving the things you want in life. High self-esteem can make you feel capable, productive, lovable and self-confident. Whereas low self-esteem can make you feel worthless, incompetent and unloved.
What are the common effects of low self-esteem?
- People with low self-esteem often lack confidence in their abilities. They many think they’re doomed to fail again because they failed before.
- Lack of self-confidence may result in making little or no effort toward realising projects or goals. But failures that result from a lack of effort are not a true reflection of a person’s abilities.
- Some people won’t give themselves credit for their accomplishments. These people many think others look better in comparison. They many also believe that things just happen to them – that they don’t make them happen.
- Negative people aren’t fun to be around. People with low self-esteem, find it hard to develop close relationships. The result may be a long and unhappy personal life.
These effects of low self-esteem can create a vicious cycle. But the cycle can be broken by taking positive steps to raise your self-esteem.
How can you improve your low self-esteem?
Make it a point to be own best friend. That means giving yourself:
- Acceptance – Identify and accept your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has them!
- Help – set realistic goals. Meet them by learning new skills and developing your abilities.
- Encouragement – Take a ‘can do’ attitude. Set a reasonable timetable for yourself and offer yourself encouragement along the way.
- Praise – take pride in your achievement, both great and small. Remember your experiences are yours alone. Enjoy them.
- Time – take time out regularly to be alone with your thoughts and feelings. Get involved in activities you can enjoy by yourself, like crafts, reading or an individual sport. Learn to enjoy your own company.
- Trust – pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Act on what makes you think is right. Do what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
- Respect. Don’t try to be someone else. Be proud of who you are. Explore and appreciate your own special talents.
You need to learn to like the unique person you are. Accept and learn from your mistakes. Don’t overreact to errors. Accept your successes and failures – those who love you do. Improving your self-esteem can help you feel good about yourself.
With self-esteem you can be the person you want to be, enjoy your life with others and offer more of yourself to the world. Counselling can help towards helping you taking a long hard look at yourself and help guide you to change the things you do not like about yourself. It does take courage to do this but remember ‘You can improve your self-esteem as you are really worth the effort’!